Thankfully, Stranger Things fans don’t have to wait until the two-part finale of Season 4 drops on July 1 to get the answer to the season’s biggest mystery. The final moments of Volume 1 revealed the shocking truth about Vecna’s identity, and although the jaw-dropping scene was a massive surprise, upon rewatching the season there are tons of clues hinting at the big reveal. Spoiler alert: Don’t read on if you haven’t watched Stranger Things 4, Episode 7. Here are all the hints that Henry Creel would become One and then Vecna in Stranger Things 4.
Throughout Season 4, the central mystery was all about Vecna. The demonic spellcaster has the terrifying ability to gruesomely murder anyone he sets his sights on without even leaving the Upside Down — and he began preying on teens dealing with past trauma in Hawkins. It wasn’t until the very end of Volume 1 that Vecna’s full backstory and identity came together: Eleven was finally able to recover her memory of sending her power-mad predecessor One through a gate to the Upside Down, where he transformed into Vecna. And before that, One confessed to Eleven that before he became Dr. Brenner’s first protégé, he was Victor Creel’s son, Henry.
Looking back at the seven episodes of Volume 1, there are actually a bunch of clever hints pointing to Henry Creel becoming One and then Vecna. Here are the clues you might’ve missed.
1. Vecna’s home base is the Creel house.
The only other time Vecna made his presence known before his 1986 attacks was the Creel family massacre back in the ’50s. It quickly became clear that Vecna had a strong connection to the Creel house, as the Hawkins gang was able to figure out he resides in the Upside Down version of the creepy mansion. In the end, it makes total sense for Henry Creel to set up his base of operations in the Upside Down version of his former home, and it should’ve been a big clue that Vecna was someone who once lived in that house.
2. Henry survived Vecna’s attack.
It should’ve struck viewers as very telling that Henry Creel was the only family member to come out of Vecna’s initial attack relatively unscathed. Both Victor Creel’s wife and daughter were murdered, and Victor was nearly disposed of as well, but was instead cursed to live in his unending torment. Henry, however, was barely even mentioned in Victor’s recounting of his family’s massacre. He just says that his son was in a coma for a while and kind of moves on. Later, it’s revealed Henry passed out due to overexerting his psychic powers to attack his family. The fact that Victor’s son was the only Vecna survivor should have made the connection very clear.
3. Henry isn’t shown much in Victor’s flashback.
Continuing from the past clue, Henry is suspiciously off-screen for much of the flashback to the Creel family massacre. In particular, when his mother, Virginia, began levitating and her bones started snapping, only Victor and Alice were shown reacting in horror. Seeing Henry with a face of severe concentration in that moment would have been a total giveaway that he was Vecna, so not seeing him at all was a subtler hint at who was behind the attack.
4. The timeline of Vecna’s attacks points to Henry.
One big question the Hawkins gang struggles with is why Vecna would attack once in the ’50s, then disappear for nearly 30 years before returning to his murder spree in 1986. It all comes together when Henry is revealed to be Vecna. After Henry’s first murderous outburst, Dr. Brenner took him in and had a power dampener embedded in his skin. Because of that, Henry/One was unable to attack again until he was able to convince Eleven to remove it. Then, Eleven sealed him away in the Upside Down, once again preventing him from murdering anyone... until he was finally able to open gates between dimensions on his own a few years later, likely thanks to observing Eleven’s ability to open and close gates.
5. Eleven’s gate-opening ability hints at One being able to do the same thing.
Building off that, Eleven being the only known being able to open and close gates to the Upside Down should have been a big clue that Vecna is someone with abilities just like hers. As Season 4 progressed, the Hawkins crew discovered that Vecna opened small gates to the Upside Down at all the places where he attacked someone. This was a big nod to Vecna being One, the only Hawkins Lab subject whose powers rivaled Eleven’s.
6. Jamie Campbell Bower is credited in every episode.
Bower appeared in only about half the episodes of Season 4, Volume 1 as the seemingly compassionate Hawkins Lab orderly looking out for Eleven. However, his name appears in the cast credits of every single episode, where he’s billed only as “Friendly Orderly.” That definitely should’ve aroused some suspicion that this character was much more important than he may have initially appeared.
7. Vecna was once a human in Dungeons & Dragons.
Hardcore D&D fans may have seen the core element of the Vecna twist coming right from the season premiere. In D&D lore, Vecna was born a human, but transformed himself into an undead sorcerer lich through dark magic. In fact, Vecna is particularly notable for being the first human to ever successfully become a lich. All of this pointed to the Stranger Things version of Vecna being the first Upside Down monster to ever be revealed to be a former human.
Stranger Things is sure to reveal even more about Vecna’s backstory and transformation when the final two episodes of Season 4 are released on July 1.